Arrests In Turkey And A Blast, Then Limited Internet

Access to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and more is being restricted across Turkey, along with a reporting ban on Friday's violence

An explosion in Diyarbakir killed 8 and wounded 100 others — REUTERS
Nov 04, 2016 at 8:25 AM ET

A car bomb exploded in southeastern Turkey’s largest city Friday after leaders of the country’s biggest Kurdish political party were arrested and held nearby.

The bomb killed eight people and wounded over 100 others, but reporting on the explosion was banned by the Turkish government, and the Internet was swiftly shut down in most places, with access to social media networks severely restricted.

TurkeyBlocks, an organization that monitors Internet shutdowns in population centers all over Turkey, reported early on November 4 that major social media networks including Facebook and Twitter as well as WhatsApp were being restricted throughout the country.

Reuters reported that Prime Minister Binali Yildrim was asked about the ban. He replied that the situation would go back to normal “once the danger is removed.”

The shutdown and the arrests have prompted more criticism and concern from Turkey’s European neighbors. The head of the EU’s foreign policy, Federica Mogherini, was “extremely worried” by the arrests and had called a meeting of EU ambassadors in Ankara.

The Turkish government has been battling a Kurdish insurgency in the southeast of the country for over a year now, and the recent failed coup against President Tayyip Erdogan has prompted wide-scale arrests of political opponents and the sacking of thousands of civil servants and teachers. Turkey has been under emergency rule since the botched revolt in July and immunity from prosecution for parliamentarians was lifted earlier this year.